By Dr. Kevin B. Coleman
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, New York State licensure
When people shop for shoes based on style or brand and how they fit with their outfit, instead of how shoes fit their feet, they’re setting themselves up for foot pain and discomfort. Ill-fitting shoes that are too large or too small, and footwear with poor arch support are the prime agitators for foot problems.
For care of foot pain and discomfort turn to podiatrists. These health care professionals must be licensed by the State to provide medical and surgical management of the lower extremity–which includes foot, ankle and lower leg. They have the ability to diagnose systemic diseases and treat lower extremity manifestations.
The most common problems many podiatrists treat are toe nail disorders, such as ingrown, fungal or elongated nails, and hyperkeratoses (corns and calluses caused by tight shoes). If you see a growth or feel discomfort make an appointment with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis. A visit usually includes an exam, a thorough assessment and treatment recommendations.
We are medically and surgically trained to help patients with these common foot problems. Some of the reasons why people with such ailments seek assistance from a podiatrist are:
1] Podiatrists are specially trained to trim corns and calluses. When people try to cut their own calluses they run the risk of injuring themselves, which could lead to possible infection. Having a professional do this can remove the chance of accidents.
2] Some patients have inadequate vision or limited flexibility so they can’t reach their feet well enough to safely clip their nails, thus need a podiatrist to provide this service.
3] Diabetes and poor circulation can also create the need for assistance from a podiatrist.
In between visits to your foot doctor, patients commonly use do-it-yourself pampering practices, such as warm water foot soaks, massage to help with foot discomfort and applying a favorite foot cream.
People with diabetes and/or poor circulation should have their feet evaluated every two months by a podiatrist. Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance are commonly used to pay for podiatry services. Next time, the Doc will offer steps to help diabetics walk in good health.
Dr. Coleman has 25 years of experience, trained at New York College of Podiatric Medicine and is based in Brooklyn. He can be reached at 231-846-8643 to address your questions and concerns.